To appeal to visitors and other visitors, localities around Japan are finding a cute mascot indispensable. Among these, “Kumamon,” bear character from Kumamoto Prefecture in Kyushu, is enjoying a surge in popularity.

According to a survey by RJC Research, Kumamon jumped from 46th place in 2011 to 3rd place in 2012, putting it just behind Shiga Prefecture’s 1st-place “Hikonyan” and Nara Prefecture’s 2nd-place “Sento-kun” as the nation’s most popular. The name “Kumamon” is taken from Kumamoto’s local dialect and means a person who hails from Kumamoto Prefecture. (Kuma means “bear,” and in the local dialect, the suffix “-mon” is tacked on to a place name when referring to its natives.”)



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